The weather was beautiful. Boat owners, builders, brokers and dealers met serious buyers. Substantive leads were garnered and deals were sealed at the Oriental In Water Boat Show.
Boaters and wanna-be boaters from Louisiana to Maine converged on Oriental, North Carolina in record-setting numbers to attend the Fourth Annual In-Water Boat Show held in April. Produced by the Oriental Rotary Club, a Nautical Flea Market was added to complement the attractions which helped boost the attendance according to Sam Myers, event coordinator.
“I am tickled about the gate,” said Myers, “and the variety of boats and vendors was pleasing.”
Attendees could view, board, test and buy power and sail boats from eight to 46 feet with values ranging from $800 to $260,000. Educational seminars were held on topics including boat financing, first aid underway, kayak fishing 101, being boarded by the US Coast Guard, towing help by the professionals, solving engine and mechanical problems, State fishing regulations and a hands-on demonstration of how to use a fire extinguisher.
Exhibits included new, innovative products developed by North Carolinians and made in the United States. The WaveFront TillerClutch, developed by Pete Crawford, created a lot of interest among sailors. The simple-to-install, “compact, highly refined mechanical device” mounts under the tiller and allows hands-free sailing.
Twin brothers, Steve and James Outland, designed and developed a PVC hatch lens cover system to slow the effects of crazing and reduce interior heat. A fastener is attached to the exterior side of the hatch with an adhesive and the rigid white cover installs with a simple twist of the fastener.
“We have been using Outland Hatch Covers on our own boat now for three years and know they are extremely durable in all elements,” said Steve Outland.
Coupons for a free night stay at Hampton Public Piers were snatched up and Dockmaster Kate Lawrence said several boats arrived within a week after the show.
“The connections I made were really good,” said Lawrence. “I expect to see a lot of the coupons redeemed all summer long.”
Jerry Macon, owner of Fort Macon Marina at Atlantic Beach, NC, took several groups out on one of his power catamarans during the three-day event.
“People were very impressed with the Carolina and World Cats,” said Macon. “The wind was blowing and there was a bit of a chop. It was perfect.”
“All it takes is one or two new customers to make doing the show worthwhile,” said John Deaton, owner of Deaton Yacht Service in Oriental. “You’ll be glad you did it.”
The Boat Show is a major fundraiser for the Oriental Rotary Club and net proceeds help provide scholarships to local high school and college students in addition to supporting other civic and charitable works. Their motto is “Meeting unmet needs in Pamlico County since 1951.”
As a result of the Show in 2011, Rotary added new scholarships and increased the value of the existing ones in addition to donating a substantial amount to the Hurricane Irene Disaster Relief Fund, which devastated much of the county last August 27.
“The Oriental Show has every indication of having become one of the largest and most successful in-water boat shows between Annapolis and Savannah,” said Myers.
Kathy Enzerink makes her home in Oriental, NC, when she and her husband Gerry are not sailing on Sea Bird. She is a free-lance writer, journalist and publisher of children’s coloring books. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.